Monday, August 9, 2010

California Supreme Court Holds Section 3345(b) Trebling For Acts Against Senior Citizens Inapplicable to UCL: Clark v. Superior Court

On August 9, 2010, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Clark v. Superior Court, __ Cal.4th __ (2010), concluding that “an award of restitution under the unfair competition law ... is not subject to section 3345’s trebling provision.” In reaching its decision, the Court concluded that Civil Code Section 3345(b)’s trebling provision was not limited to claims brought under the CLRA [Slip Opinion, at 5-7], but rather, was applicable any statute which “permits a remedy that is in the nature of a penalty.” See id., at 7-9. From that point, the Court reasoned that “[b]ecause restitution in a private action brought under the unfair competition law is measured by what was taken from the plaintiff, that remedy is not a penalty and hence does not fall within the trebled recovery provision of Civil Code section 3345, subdivision (b).” See id., at 9-10.

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